By Corinne Marian
Being born and raised in Brazil, it was only natural that after becoming a travel consultant more than 20 years ago, I decided to specialize in promoting Brazil as a vacation destination. Sometimes it can be challenging; many people worry about safety and political issues. For this reason, one has to work twice as hard to send travellers there, and assure them they will be safe by simply following some basic precautions. Brazil, of course is, a beautiful country, which should be visited by everyone at least once in a lifetime.
A group of 10 enthusiastic, clever, fun and experienced Canadian travel professionals embarked on this trip, enjoying every minute of it. From left to right: Corinne Marian, Ian Cowan, Angela Kabenian, Julieta, Yolanda, Gloria Nadeau Eliana Yakubovits, Celine de Sa Buckley, Maly Sliwowicz Angelina Valenzano Deborah D'Souza and Celeste Gueco-Jeethan.
All these years in business, I have never met anyone who came back disappointed. Visitors always love pretty much everything about Brazil; the nature, the food, the people, the vibe, and the history. They all tell me they want to return at least once more and they usually do!
For these reasons, I decided it was time to share all my accumulated knowledge with some of my fellow colleagues and travel consultants who had never been to Brazil. Together with my partners in both countries, and with the help of Copa Airlines, who graciously sponsored the plane tickets, we planned a trip to Salvador and Rio.
Salvador, our first stop, is located in the Northeast region and it is the fourth largest city in Brazil. It’s known for its beautiful beaches, music, dance and history, being one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. Pelourinho , the historic town center, is famous for its colorful houses and churches, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We had the chance to visit all the important sites and visit many hotels, ranging from 5 star chains to small boutiques with up to 7 rooms. We stayed at the trendy Fera Hotel, located in the historical center, and had a chance to watch daily performances ranging from Capoeira to samba groups playing drums, singing and dancing.
The day tour to Praia do Forte was one of the highlights of the trip. We had the chance to visit the TAMAR project, which protects endangered sea turtles and help them reproduce. A lunch by the beach and some free time to enjoy nature was appreciated the group.
Following three days of intense activity, we headed to Rio de Janeiro for another round of learning. Our group marvelled at the site of Christ the Redeemer monument and the Sugar Loaf on the way to our hotel, the Hilton Copacabana (my favorite in Rio, due to its location, service, warm reception, quality of rooms and a delicious buffet breakfast!)
We visited both the Corcovado and Sugar Loaf. Our guests took amazing pictures and were beyond impressed with the view of the marvellous city from the high mountain range, higher than the clouds and the airplanes passing by. A meal at an all-you-can eat ‘churrascaria” was, of course, part of the program. Different meat cuts and a salad, seafood and hot dishes at the buffet were enjoyed with caipirinha, our typical drink made with cachaça, sugar, ice and lemon.
Rio Scenarium, a legendary music scene in Lapa, is a multilevel, antique filled nightclub, which presents some of the best samba, pagode, forro and gafieira performers.
After our stay in Rio, the group left impressed and also surprised to have seen a country very different from what they hear in the news.
Brazil was an amazing memorable experience! The people of Brazil are warm, friendly and extremely proud of their heritage. The cuisine was so delicious and the variety was endless. I became very fond of the seafood moqueca and churrascarias. Brazil is a beautiful country with vast landscapes and colonial architecture. The abundance of tourist attractions will leave you wanting more. Of course, I will return some day, perhaps during Carnival and get to samba once more!
I had read about different safety concerns and areas to avoid in Brazil. However, after being there and experiencing Brazil firsthand, I can truly say that I felt completely safe and at ease at all times. I was able to take so much from my experience in each of the cities. I would highly recommend Brazil as a destination to both adventurous and leisure travelers. The pace and intensity can vary, as well as the choice of attractions to visit. Brazil offers something for everyone!
I have never been to Brazil before and was very impressed. It was always a place on my bucket list. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide and tried fantastic food. Would I go again? Absolutely! Would I sell Brazil to clients? Definitely! Did I find it safe? Yes! Brazil has a lot to offer: lovely beaches, amazing architecture and panoramic view of the mountains.
Rio de Janeiro is a lot of what I imagined. Sophisticated, beautiful beaches, great colonial and modern buildings and beautiful art everywhere.
Most of all I loved the people in Rio, they were warm, friendly and respectful. Brazilians in Rio are diverse, anyone can look like a Brazilian but the behavior is unique only in Rio de Janeiro. Service is excellent and that makes a big difference to travellers enjoying a city.
My trip exceeded my expectations. The beauty of Brazil has left me wanting to go back for more.
Here are some links to the sites and hotels we mentioned in this article: